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Gov. Scott’s Weekly Briefing Focuses On Unvaccinated Vermonters

Vermont Statehouse (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Vermont Statehouse (file)

Vermont officials are continuing their efforts to convince unvaccinated residents to get a COVID-19 shot.

The percentage of eligible Vermonters who have started receiving the vaccine leads the nation at 82.4 percent. But that also means about 97,000 residents have yet to be vaccinated. Republican Governor Phil Scott noted that the weekly call between the White House, CDC officials and other governors Tuesday confirmed that the Delta variant is now the predominant strain of the virus in the nation. 

“And the spread we’re seeing is largely among those who are unvaccinated," Scott said. "Which is why it’s so important for us to continue vaccinating as many people as we possibly can.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said while vaccination efforts have made Vermont the safest state in the country he is concerned about the nearly 18 percent of Vermonters yet to get a vaccine. 

“Nationally 99 percent of the deaths from COVID now are among people who were not vaccinated," Levine said. "So the choice is not really between getting vaccinated or not. It’s between getting vaccinated and taking the chance of getting COVID with the possibility of death, hospitalizations or long haul COVID symptoms, especially with the highly transmissible Delta variant.  And the majority of future cases of COVID in Vermont will be in groups of unvaccinated people.”

Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak tracks virus data. He reported continued regional differences in reported cases across the U.S. that data show is driven by the levels of vaccination. 

“The Northeast continues to be the most vaccinated region in the country and as a result we are seeing the fewest number of cases here," Pieciak said. "The other regions not only have higher caseloads but they’re also seeing a slight uptick in their cases as well. They continue to increase in parts of the Midwest led by Missouri; parts of the South led by Florida and Arkansas and the West led by Utah and Nevada and some other states. Currently the fatality rate is three times greater in states where less than 50 percent of their population has started vaccination compared to those states where 60 percent or more have started their vaccination.”

Governor Scott was asked several questions about his veto of S.79, a bill passed during the legislature’s special session in June, that would have established a rental registry. 

“I don’t think it was well thought out in some respects because it will encompass all rental units, whether it’s a room, whether it’s an accessory dwelling," Scott said. "This doesn’t carve out any exemption for just the mom and pops, the regular everyday Vermonters they’re just trying to make ends meet. Just having an apartment in their home opens them up to register this apartment and opening up your home to scrutiny by the state.”

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